Scottish election 2021: Greens’ manifesto for education

Ahead of the election, the Greens pledge to reform national education bodies such as the SQA and give teachers autonomy

Henry Hepburn

Scottish election 2021: The Green Party's manifesto pledges on education

The Scottish Greens have this morning launched their manifesto for the 6 May Scottish Parliament election, including a long list of promises on education.

Scottish election 2021: The Geen Party's manifesto commitments

Here are some of the party's key manifesto commitments:


Scottish election 2021: Parties' education policies at the start of the campaign

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Election promises: Who are the parties pitching them at?


  • Reduce the role of exams and "expand continuous assessment of coursework".
  • Ensure that schools have resources to support the creation of independent pupil unions, "so that young people can have their voices heard in education".
  • Ensure counselling is available to all pupils, "by establishing a right to access school-based counselling provided by qualified practitioners".
  • Recruit 2,500 more additional support needs teachers over the next parliament, halving the additional support needs (ASN) teacher-to-pupil ratio.
  • Make ASN teaching a promoted post to attract more teachers into the profession.
  • Ensure additional needs are covered in initial teacher education and in qualified teachers' professional learning, "equipping all teachers with the core skills required to support pupils with additional needs".
  • Establish formal recognition of further education qualifications for additional needs assistants and establish an accreditation and registration system through the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS).
  • Support legislation to ensure that all young people with additional needs have access to adequate support as they transition from school to adulthood.
  • Replace inspections with peer review and self-evaluation overseen by the Regional Improvement Collaboratives, ending the routine use of national inspections.
  • "Immediately end the conflict of interest inherent in Education Scotland", by separating its curriculum development and inspection roles, establishing an independent inspectorate instead.
  • Establish a process for curricular review; consult with teachers, pupils and other stakeholders to establish an appropriate cycle of regular curricular review, in line with international best practice.
  • Replace the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) board of management with "a new model which places emphasis on professional qualifications and relevant experience in education"; at least half of board members will be GTCS-registered teachers or lecturers and spaces will be reserved for union representatives, the Association of Headteachers and Deputes in Scotland (AHDS), Colleges Scotland, a member of the Scottish Youth Parliament, and a representative of parents and carers.

The party's education spokesperson, Ross Greer, said: "The Scottish Greens have stood with teachers and pupils throughout this pandemic. We forced the restoration of every grade unfairly lowered by the SQA last August, secured £45 million to recruit additional staff and delivered regular Covid testing for all school staff and senior pupils this spring.

"The education proposals in this manifesto reflect the close relationship the Greens have with teachers and their unions in particular. Our priorities are teachers' priorities, namely a reduction in workload, class sizes and contact time, a transformation in additional support needs services and a radical overhaul of Education Scotland and the SQA.

"We will raise the school starting age to 7 and introduce a play-based kindergarten stage. We will deliver an additional 5,500 permanent teaching posts and put those teachers currently on temporary contracts or unable to find work at the front of the queue for these new positions.

"That must only be the start, though. More teachers encumbered by the same administrative workloads and tick-box exercises would be no success story. That's why the Greens would scrap SNSAs, increase teachers' professional autonomy and replace the national inspections system with a peer-review process between teachers and schools.

"This is by far our boldest and most comprehensive offer for Scotland's education system and I am proud to put it forward today."

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Henry Hepburn

Henry Hepburn

Henry Hepburn is the news editor for Tes Scotland

Find me on Twitter @Henry_Hepburn

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